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The Cross


I'm surprised at how much my views about some things have changed as I've aged. Particularly, I'm amazed at how much tradition has come to mean to me. I'm not alone. For Christmas Dinner this year I suggested we get a Pizza, one of our family's favorite foods, or if we wanted to cook at home, we could make enchiladas, something we rarely eat. But my youngest son wouldn't have it, he thought we should have ham for dinner and homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast, a longstanding family tradition passed down from my Mom and Dad. Of course, we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast and Ham for dinner, just as he wanted.

When I was a young preacher with plenty of fire in my belly, I began a personal crusade to replace the cross as the primary Christian symbol with the ancient symbol of the butterfly. The butterfly, an early Christian symbol of the resurrection, was more beautiful, in my opinion, and drew attention away from the suffering of Jesus to His greatest victory.

Our living room has a dozen or so butterflies scattered throughout it, and I've bought Susan several pieces of jewelry with butterfly pendants. I don't mean to suggest that I don't still love the symbolism of the butterfly, but I'm beginning to understand why the cross is our primary symbol and why no campaign to replace it with the butterfly, or anything else will ever succeed.

Yes, it is the empty tomb that gives us power and hope. But at the cross, Jesus spilt His royal, red blood for the sins of the world. It was there that He became sin, even though He knew no sin. It was at the cross where the battle lines were drawn, and He made the ultimate sacrifice.

No, the cross wasn't polished and it wasn't made of gold. It didn't hang around anyone's neck, and it wasn't bejeweled with diamonds. It was made of rough wood and was, in His day, a symbol of shame and degradation.

But when He spilt His blood upon it, He changed it forevermore. It became something that refined women want to wear as jewelry. But more importantly, when He spilt His blood, He changed the course of history. And me.

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